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New Town canals light up green dreams

Street lighting, entertainment and community lighting are the standard areas where solar power is used. Two new concepts - energy efficiency and green building - have also been incorporated in the project and the authorities are currently working on elements such as solar water heater, solar streetlight, solar staircase light and green building.

"The concept is to develop Rajarhat into an energy-intelligent township, minimizing the use of conventional electricity and using renewable energy as much as possible," said an official.

The authorities are working to ascertain the areas in which the use of solar power can be maximized. Already, a long stretch of the major arterial road has been lit up with LED streetlights and more such lights will be installed on various roads in the township.

Hidco is also trying to introduce battery-run three wheelers on short routes. Discussions are on with the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency to move ahead with the plan, an official said.

However, experts feel that with scarcity of adequate land for setting up solar power plants, it's best to install solar panels over waterbodies to generate power. Earlier, the Arka-IGNOU Community College of Renewable Energy had come up with a proposal to set up floating solar modules on the city's wetlands, particularly those in east Kolkata. The proposal has been sent to the Centre.

As a part of the Rajarhat New Town solar city project that was earlier announced by the Centre, the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) is preparing a draft report to place solar panels on the canals flowing through Rajarhat not only to generate green energy but also to protect the canal water from pollution. The draft report will be ready by January.

Hidco officials recently reviewed the preparation of the solar city project report. "It was discussed that there should be a component in the report that solar photovoltaic panels may be placed over the canals that goes through New Town including Bagjola canal and the other link and periphery canals. This will protect the canal water from pollution and will also give enough space to generate green energy through the solar panels on the canals," said Hidco chairman cum managing director Debashis Sen.

To be a solar city, at least 10% of the power the township uses will have to come from solar energy. Street lighting, entertainment and community lighting are the standard areas where solar power is used and two more aspects - energy efficiency and green building - were also incorporated in the solar city concept to broaden the concept. Elements such as solar water heater, solar streetlight, solar staircase light and green building are all part of the solar city concept on which the authorities are working on.

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